NDA lost because of its overconfidence: Thackeray

PTI | By, Mumbai
May 15, 2004 11:35 AM IST

Lashing out at NDA, the Sena chief said that the party's debacle at polls was due to overconfidence and departure from core issues.

Bal Thackeray on Friday achieved the impossible: going left and right in the same breath.

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HT Image

He echoed the Left parties' ire over disinvestments undertaken by the NDA Government at the centre in the past years and blamed the BJP for blowing hot and cold over Hindutva and the temple issue.

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Speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Friday, Thackeray said the NDA's debacle at these polls was due to overconfidence and a departure from core issues. Issues that should have connected with the people and the party.

"Why should there have been a special ministry for disinvestments? It should have been handled by the Finance Minister.

What was he doing? Simply sitting in his airconditioned office and passing time?'' Thackeray asked in his typical combative style.

Thackeray accused the NDA Government of selling of profit making concerns for a song and paying little heed to factors related to workers and employment.

"I can give you several examples ? BALCO, for one. Then there was the Centaur Hotel. It was sold far below market price and resold by the original buyers for heavy profits. Is this what we mean by disinvestment?''

Thackeray also blamed the BJP of forgetting its core issue ? Hindutva.

"They brought it out whenever they wanted and let it gather dust whenever it became inconvenient to speak about it. The people are not fools. There was also tremendous arrogance and overconfidence in the Government ''

Thackeray's views are not new. He has raised the issues from time to time over the past years and embarrassed the BJP-led Government at the Centre.

And Thackeray was reminding one and all about it today. "I told them so,'' he said. "But no one was listening."

However, on the defeats of his own candidates in Mumbai, Thackeray was not as graceful in admitting that perhaps wrong polices (like the anti-north Indian campaign) might have helped the Sena bite the dust.

Instead, he placed the Sena debacle at the doors of the Election Commission, saying that there was some deliberate conspiracy to keep the Sena voters from casting their ballot.

"People had voting cards and photo ID cards. Do you think candidates were fools to send them voting cards if the names had not been on the voters' lists? Despite our complaints no one listened. And this is what led to the defeat of our candidates.''

Nirupam's veiled attack on Muslims

However, while Manohar Joshi and Ram Naik, gracefully accepted their defeats, Sena candidate from Mumbai North West Sanjay Nirupam on Friday held out a veiled threat to Muslims in the constituency whom he blamed for voting against the Shiv Sena.

During the campaign Nirupam had tried to simultaneously both woo and threaten the minorities, both Christian and Muslim.

This had led to a lot of acrimony between various Christian groups, but Muslim groups held their silence and then seemed to have quietly voted for the Congress.

Now Nirupam says, "If they will not vote for us, we need not pamper them. We will go back to our old hard core Hindutva and then the Muslims will be in trouble.''

This has been taken exception to by the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra whose general secretary Dr Abraham Mathai on Friday issued a call to Bal Thackeray to restrain his candidate and called upon the Election Commission to ban any future candidature of Nirupam from anywhere in the country.

"He tried his best to create riots between Hindus, Muslims and Christians during the campaign and even now he is trying to create unrest among them. The authorities should take note of this and take action against him,'' Dr Mathai said.

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